Friday, February 01, 2008

MNPS needs a CEO

As I consider the Metro Nashville Public Schools' need for a new Superintendent I'm of the mind it may be time to abandon the usual superintendent model and look for someone who is more 'business CEO' to run this enormous system. A huge portion of the system isn't really 'education' related at all. It is services related though--transportation, food service, nursing, facilities maintenance, customer and public relations, purchasing, security, and human resources to name a few.

If we can find a MNPS CEO that can run the non-educational but essential day to day stuff AND has the ability to work well with those that know the education delivery portion of the system we'll be on our way to creating a better system. I don't think it's necessary for an educator to be in charge of the whole system though.

The upside to a CEO is that the efficient running of the non-educational portions of the system should free up valuable resources that can be made available to the educators. Money is going to be tight. Taxpayers are of the mind that there is a lot of waste and they're not inclined to hand over anymore until they're convinced money is being spent wisely. We're going to need someone that can 'turn a penny twice' and clearly show the taxpaying public they've done so before they're ever going to agree to a property tax increase.

We also need someone able and willing to keep the educators accountable for job performance--because job performance, educating these children, is THE focus of the system. It's why we pay our taxes. It's why we vote in school board members. We want children well educated for the benefit of our community. Failing to ensure that they're educated doesn't just impact their life, but their families, their neighbors and our community as a whole.

Having an educator in charge of the system hasn't served these children well. Let's try something different.


Nashteach said...

I don't disagree, but if it were to happen, I think we'd also need a Chief Instructional Officer that is at least partly answerable to the board- and can voice her/his opinion on instructional matters without "offending the chain of command."

Kay Brooks said...

Good point. Someone needs to be able to speak to the BOE with minimal fear of retribution for having done so. A CIO might be it.

Part of the problem here is that the BOE doesn't appear to have made any great effort at investigating things for themselves.

din819go said...

Kay -- I like your idea. I also think we need a CIO.

I would like to take this a step further to the school level. Being one who wants to see the principal have full control of the dollars needed to run the school -- including salary dollars...I think you need a principal who manages the educational function and then a business officer who keeps the books and runs the non-educational function of the school. Ideally the principal would be strong enough to manage the budget but I think one would one a system of accountability in place that would separate the disbursement of the dollars from the principal. It is time to institute full site-based decision making in my opinion. This means we need a major upgrade in many of the principals in our schools, too.

Thanks --

Kay Brooks said...

Site-based works if you've got the right manager/principal.

The system is soooo large that I've begun to think that creating sub-systems might be something to investigate. Maybe based on the districts. Apparently Rep. Mike Turner has begun a conversation about returning to neighborhood schools and has actually threatened to see if his neighborhood can withdraw from Metro. THAT could be very interesting.

din819go said...

I had not heard the latest from Mike Turner. That would be very interesting. The question is if successful how do they get funded? What has to happen in the council for funds to go to the new "district", etc. Sounds like a long shot with little muscle behind the threat...